December 11, 2009

Madrona Crunch

Filed under: Hiking — Tags: — geezerwriter @ 8:14 pm

Chuckanut Creek

My first day out on the trail after several weeks when hiking was foreclosed by illness and concert rehearsals was an interesting one. It was sunny but cold when we started out – Chuckanut Creek was even prettier than usual, with ice forms looking like petrified whitewater.

After negotiating the very sinuous and circuitous Salal trail and reemerging onto the Lost Lake trail, pat led us up onto the north end of Chuckanut Ridge in hopes of finding better views than on Madrona Crest. The sun had gone into hiding by this time so I wasn’t too optimistic about the view, but was pleasantly surprised to see that the clouds overhead were high enough to allow a sneak peek eastward toward Mount Baker. And the clouds also were confined to the coastal region – Baker was bathed in slanted winter sunshine and shone like a gem in the distance. I think I got some decent pictures, but they don’t come close to capturing that glow.

Mount Baker and the Sisters

We had a nice lunch on the ridge but the inactivity and digestive activity quickly brought on a major chill so we didn’t tarry but hurried back down toward the main trail. Just as we neared the end of the side trip, I took it a bit yoo literally – tripping over my own feet and falling flat on my face, like the Monsignor on Good Friday. Well, I didn’t actually achieve the full prostrate position since the reason I fell was that I had put my hands into my jacket pockets and couldn’t get them out quickly. I was effectively wearing a strait jacket – it was more like a mummy falling off a truck!

I managed simultaneously to smack both elbows, one wrist and my upper lip (darn that overbite!) but the worst was my left thigh – my camera was in my pants pocket and attempted to bury itself in my leg. I forgot to omit the baby aspirin from my pill regimen that night, so by the next day I had a distinctly rectangular and ugly bruise on my leg. (Remembering that DJan had been kind enough to share pictures of her ghastly hematoma from the Rainbow Ridge hike, I took a picture of mine. Given its location, only an extreme close-up would be suitable for a family publication, so it is pretty disgusting. I think I will spare you.)

Chuckanut Creek, again

It took a few moments to make sure that all systems were still operating so that I could proceed to join up with the group at the trail junction. Even though nothing seemed to be seriously damaged, just the fall itself had taken a lot out of me, so I decided I’d rather skip the jaunt up to Madrona Crest and head back down the Lost Lake trail – downhill looked pretty good to me at that point. Amy graciously insisted on accompanying me. Shortly after leaving the group I felt fine, but we continued on down to the Hemlock trail. It was still pretty cold, so rather than just standing around we headed back up the Hemlock trail for awhile and ultimately arrived back at the trailhead at about the same time as the main group, who reportedly had had a nice walk to Madrona Crest and some more great views.

And one more Baker picture, for good measure. That day Marjan and Frank were snowshoeing in the Artist Point area with a Mount Baker Club group – they must have a frigid but spectacularly beautiful day.

Baker in Winter



  1. I just want to point out one inaccuracy in this post, Al: it’s not winter yet! We still have a couple of weeks! The Winter Solstice will happen at 8:47 am on Monday, December 21st. It was a wonderful day, Al, and now I’m thinking of buying myself an expensive Christmas present, thanks to you!

    Comment by DJan — December 13, 2009 @ 6:18 pm

    • You’re welcome.

      But I’ll give you a fight on the ‘start of winter’ thing. I think it is goofy to consider winter as lasting arbitrarily from Dec 21 to Mar 21, when we are much more likely to have “wintry” weather in late November and early December than in March. And it doesn’t make any more sense astronomically than it does meteorologically. It just gives the TV weatherman an excuse to get cutesy and say, in the face of subfreezing temperatures and blizzards, that “It isn’t winter yet, but…” And have you noticed how often they have to use that line? And it happens again in May and June in the opposite sense. Every year! Everywhere!

      So I’ll keep on calling the seasons as I see them. 🙂

      Comment by aheezen — December 13, 2009 @ 7:23 pm

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